Best of Friendship Heights: Where to Live

Buyers come—and stay—for the good schools, tall trees, and easy commutes

By: Zac Farber

This three-bedroom Colonial in Chevy Chase DC sold this fall after six days on the market.

The neighborhoods around Friendship Heights have beaten the odds of a tough market. All three Zip codes in the area—20815 in Maryland and 20016 and 20015 in DC—had median sales prices above $700,000 in 2009. They also all earned spots in the region’s ten most expensive Zip codes.

Real-estate agent Nancy Mellon says it’s hard to find a single-family home in the area for less than $700,000. Renovated houses and penthouse condos in established buildings such as Parc Somerset can go for more than $2 million. “The price range under $1 million doesn’t seem to have any problems selling,” says Long & Foster agent Suzanne Goldstein.

What makes the area so desirable? The neighborhoods surrounding Friendship Heights marry urban convenience and suburban comforts. The area claims two Metro stations (the other is Tenleytown-AU), three supermarkets, dozens of good restaurants, and some of the region’s best shopping. Lafayette and Turtle parks serve as communal bedrocks and are a big draw for young families. Among District elementary schools, Lafayette and Janney have both won Blue Ribbon awards from the Department of Education.

The most popular neighborhoods include the Village of Friendship Heights and Chevy Chase Village in Maryland and American University Park and Chevy Chase in DC. Old trees line many of the streets, where house hunters can find a wide variety of architectural styles including Colonials, craftsman bungalows, foursquares, and Tudors.

Although single-family homes make up much of the housing, two new condo developments are planned for the area.

One block from the Friendship Heights Metro, The Harrison (5201 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-580-6017) offers condos with patios and porches overlooking a landscaped courtyard. Amenities include garage parking, hardwood floors, stainless-steel appliances, and a concierge. Of the four-story U-shaped building’s 49 residences, eight are still on the market. Prices range from $299,900 for a one-bedroom to $799,900 for a two-bedroom.

Nearby at 5220 Wisconsin Avenue, the commercial real-estate firm Akridge is planning a seven-story condominium tower. The building will have 70 condos, mostly one- and two-bedroom units. Penthouses on the top two floors will have balconies and roof decks. The project is in the design phase, and no date for groundbreaking has been set.

This article first appeared in the December 2010 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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